Lessons from Manly aquarium
It is a bit down-at-the-heel these days, having probably lost out to the flash new one at Darling Harbour, but still an excellent place to take an eight-year-old and a five-year-old.
(That's Manly, Sydney, Australia, should there be any confusion.)
* Stingrays look like they are smiling when viewed from underneath. (e.g. See here.)
* Port Jackson sharks - a gloriously ugly little species - lay amazing egg cases that look and feel like pine cones. This website told me further that: "The egg case is soft when laid by the female. She uses her mouth to wedge the spiraled egg case into a rock crevice where it hardens, and from where one young shark emerges after ten to twelve months."
Further, they are capable of pushing their bodies out of the water to half their length and moving sideways while doing so, possibly so they can see if there's a rockpool on the other side of this one.
* Anenomes can't sting humans because our skins are too thick. The fish that live in a symbiotic relationship with them are universally known as "Nemos" to children. (The ubiquity of Disney.)
* Sea hares are misnamed. They really look, and feel, like slugs (very slimy).
* When a small boy accidentally walks into the ladies' loo, he will be so embarrassed that he will immediately lock himself into a cubicle in the gents, forcing his female carer to go in there to get him out, and consequently hugely embarrass a couple of teenage boys who then walk in. Unisex loos would solve lots of problems.
It was an interesting day.